A FORMER teacher will become the first non-African artist to host an exhibition at a prestigious gallery after finding relief in art.

Darlington artist Alison Hill will display the pieces at the Chuck Gallery in Manchester after creating work inspired by African performance groups at Billingham International Folklore Festival.

Mrs Hill said: “This exhibition is a real breakthrough for me.

“Art has become my outlet for healing because when I first started I was suffering from depression. My therapist advised me to take up a hobby and now I feel like I can’t stop producing art - I have so many ideas and plans.

“The exhibition is inspired by the Billingham International Folklore Festival and all the happy times me and my family have spent there. We loved seeing the African groups and it made me want to reflect this in my art.”

The North-East artist creates sculptures and pieces reflecting human expression and started creating African sculptures after she attended a ceramic class to combat work stress.

Mrs Hill’s works will go on show at Manchester in April, she is in the process of putting together a small collection of artworks as a prelude to the solo exhibition at the gallery.

Chuck Gallery displays an eclectic mix of paintings by African artists, it aims to generate interest in African art within Manchester and beyond.

Mrs Hill is thrilled to become their first non-African artist and said she wanted to embrace diversity in her work.

She hopes the exhibition will be successful and would like to create similar pieces if the event raises awareness of her work across the UK and internationally.

She has previously created exhibitions in the North-East including her Different Facets exhibition as part of Darlington’s annual arts festival, she created pieces showing human expression and mood.

For more information on the Manchester exhibition visit chuckgallery.com